walkerChoosing a Walkertree wheel walker

 

People are often reluctant to consider using an assistive device such as a walking frame. However, most people can walk further and with more confidence with this aid - allowing increased independance.

Prior to purchase, having a 'test run' with a walker (which can be hired from Aspire Canterbury)  may help to demonstrate the usefulness of this item.

 

 Things to Consider

Wheels - generally walkers come with four 6" and 8" wheels. Walkers with 6" wheels work well indoors and have a smaller turning circle. Walkers with 8" wheels are good for outdoor use. Some walkers are three wheel walkers - which can be used indoors but they are not advisable if you have trouble with your balance. Such walkers do not have a seat.

Seat - a seat is helpful if you you get tired when out and about. It may allow you to walk further as you are able to stop and sit down to rest. Seats are designed for sitting for a short period only.A walker with a seat may have a basket or bag under the seat. A basket needs to be removed before folding and transporting the walker. A bag would need to be emptied of contents or removed before folding and transporting the walker.If the bag is empty this can be folded along with the walker.

Weight - check the weight of the walker if it is likely you will be lifting it into a car or up steps. 

Brakes - check how easy they are to use. Generally they operate in two ways - as a temporary brake when you are using the walker and want to slow down or go down a slope - squeezing the brake on the handle. To sit down, the brake handle is pushed down and will click into place. It is important to remember to do this before sitting on the seat.

Size - check the width of the walker or note down the width of doorframes or other areas in the home when you are looking to buy a walker. Hiring a walker can be a good idea to trial this - click here for Aspire Canterbury Hire Service. Walkers are available in a range of sizes and widths. Generally handle heights are adjustable and on some models the leg height can be adjusted.

Frame Lock - some walkers have a plastic lock which holds the frame together when folded to prevent it opening.

Would you be eligible for a walker from the Ministry of Health (Enable NZ)? If you are not able to walk safely in your home you may meet the criteria to be provided with a walker. Click here for more information on Needs Assessment and equipment. 

Aspire Canterbury is happy to explain the above features to you by 'phone, in our shop or if you are able to attend a presentation by our Aspire Canterbury Mobile Service. A range of walkers is available in our shop or to view on the Aspire Canterbury web site shop page - click here to view our current range. 

 Correct use of a walker

Handle height - to adjust the height of the handles there is a bolt or knobs on the side of the handle shafts. It is important that the frame is the correct height and the bolts or screws tightly fixed. The handle should come up to the height of your wrist bone and when you push your frame your elbows should be slightly bent (20-30 degree angle) and your shoulders relaxed. If you need assistance with the use of a walker in your home or with your posture when using a walker a physiotherapist can help. Aspire Canterbury is happy to adjust a walker to the correct height for you or demonstate how to do this.

User weight - take note of the maximum user weights. Walkers to suit a range of user weights are available.

Seat height - on some models the seat can be lowered by adjustment of the walking frame legs. This means a shorter person can sit on the chair with their feet completely touching the ground. Some models of walkers are narrower and have a lower seat.

Safety

The correct walker should keep you safe and enable you to get out and about doing things you enjoy.  However, there are just a few safety measures to remember:

Accessories

 

walker tray

Baskets and trays - may come with the walker or bought as additional items. These items can be very handy for shopping or for ensuring your 'phone, books or other items are easily to hand in the home. Take care not to overload or add too much extra weight to your frame.

Walking stick holder - on some models of walkers there is provision for a walking stick holder. Alternatively they can be purchased seperately along with such accessories as oxygen bottle carriers.

 can holder on walker

 

 

 

 

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